Creating Lifestyle Product Shoots

Creating Lifestyle Product Shoots

Lifestyle imagery is far more than simply a photograph of a product being used. Your client has a very specific target market In mind, and the lifestyle imagery needs to appeal to the prospective end client.

We all buy on an emotional level, whether it’s shoes, cars or camera equipment. Often, items are purchased with a goalor aspiration in mind, rather than a necessity. If you think of some of your own purchases, and lets take camera or lighting equipment as an example. We tend to upgrade our equipment because we read of the increased specifications and the better performance. Our goal is to increase the quality of our images, increase our keeper rate, move into different genres of work etc. Whilst we all know it’s important to understand the needs of our clients, we need to know the needs and goals of their prospective clients, and the “lifestyle” pertaining to the products we are photographing.

Diamond Theory design and manufacture clothing for a very specific target market. Their clothing is tailored for bodybuilders and strength athletes, and they’ve built their reputation on the fit of their garments, and the quality of the materials.

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The material and fit can easily be displayed in your bog standard, “on white” product images, similar to the thousands of images seen across the hundreds of ecommerce sites. They get the basic message across, showing close ups of the material itself, the logo, the fit across the back etc.

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These images simply reaffirm the claims of the manufacturer, but they don’t create that emotional pull we are looking for.

If you are wondering, the on white images were taken with 2x ELB500 firing through Phottix Raja stripboxes at an output of 4.0 (Equivalent to 100Ws). They were placed either side of the subject, and a little further back, creating the accent lighting down either side, and providing the shape and texture to the clothing.

The keylight is another ELB500 firing through a Phottix Raja 105cm Hexa at an output of 3.0 (Equivalent to 50Ws).

Camera settings were 1/125th sec f5.6 ISO400

Moving on to the lifestyle imagery, what do we need to bring to the image to take the attention of the prospective client? As with any product, knowing what the prospective client wants from the product, or the environment the product is intended for, can help build an appealing lifestyle image. With the clothing from Diamond Theory, their target market is very specific, and strength athletes and body builders have a specific mindset in regards to their lifestyle. The lifestyle imagery needed to be quite “moody”.

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This image puts the garment into context, as it’s a training T shirt, and our model is obviously in a gym. The accent lights do their job, defining the pectorals and also allowing the viewer to see it’s a comfortable fit, even across the bicep. Again, three lights. An ELB500 firing through a honeycombed Phottix Raja strip frame left, firing at 4.5 (Equivalent to 150Ws). A second ELB500 firing through another honeycombed Phottix Raja strip was placed frame right, and barely out of the frame. The output was set to 3.0 (Equivalent to 50Ws). The key light was a third ELB500 placed camera left, firing through a honeycombed Phottix Raja 105cm Hexa at an output of 3.0 (Equivalent to 50Ws).

Camera settings were 1/125th sec f7.1 ISO400

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A different training shirt, and two lights. The first accent light is an ELB500 firing though a honeycombed Phottix Raja strip frame right, and set to fire across our model’s chest, developing the shape of his pectorals, as well as highlighting the smooth texture of the material. It also helps create depth on his face with the highlight of his nose. It was set to an output of 4.0 (Equivalent to 100Ws).

A second ELB500 firing though a honeycombed Phottix Raja strip was placed frame right again, and set to fire straight on to our model. This was to focus on emphasising the triceps muscle and forearm. It also aided in shaping his face, creating a nice definition of his cheekbone.

Camera settings were 1/160th sec f6.4 ISO400

Whilst they put the product in context, we also needed marketing images, rather than website product images. These images are what I would describe as the hardcore lifestyle imagery that is most likely to appeal to Diamond Theory’s prospective client from a social media post. They are designed to be dark and moody, and were supplied to my client in both colour and black and white. The images they had the greatest response to, were the darker black and white images, which received a great deal of comments and click through to their website store. Again, the simmering moody determination that is seen within a gym, when developed within the image, helped create the emotional pull of the product.

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Again, only two lights. Frame right, I placed one of the ELB500 with honeycombed Phottix stripbox barely out of frame, and firing at an output of 2.0 (Equivalent to 25Ws). For the keylight, I switched out the Phottix 150cm for the Phottix Raja Deep 80cm with honecomb. This was placed frame left, and the light stand was at its maximum height of around 2.7m. Bearing in mind, the Phottix Deep 80cm is quite long, so the effective front of the light source is much nearer to our model than a standard softbox would be. The output was also set to 2.0 (Equivalent to 25Ws).

The Deep 80cm gave a nice definition to his face, and particularly the striation of his pectorals.

Camera settings were 1/160th sec f6.4 ISO400

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I wanted to go for a classic “Rembrant lighting” look for this one. It’s just a single light frame left, and at maximum height. I used an ELB500 with the Phottix Raja Deep 80cm and honeycomb at an output of 3.0 (Equivalent to 50Ws), which provided a quite tightly controlled small pool of light with great contrast. The light falling across his chest and arms emphasises the fit of the shirt nicely.

Whilst it doesn’t particularly look like a gym image, it has created a lot of interest for Diamond Theory.

Camera settings were 1/160th sec f6.4 ISO400

Lifestyle imagery is about far more than just the product.